Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11/13, Tennessee Civil War Notes

11, 1862 -  "These are sad days for we secessionists," despondency in Cleveland

....We all got up with sad hearts, longing for the return of our army. Everything is so still, no cars and very few persons passing about. We look for them (the Yankees) every day and wonder what will be our fate. Numbers of southern families have left. Mother and Sister have gone up this morn to see Mrs. Hardin. Oh, it is so lonesome. We have no life about us, no encouragement to work. Do not know how long we will get to keep what we have even. We are needing rain very badly, everything is perfectly parched up. Aunt E. sent in work for us to fast yesterday but we did not. I have a slight headache and a sore throat and concluded to eat. I never felt so bad in my life, we hear nothing of our army, do not know what it is doing. We are cut off from all news....The Yankees' cavalry came in a while after dark tonight....These are sad days for we secessionists, but we hope for brighter. [sic]

Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman, pp. 206-207.




11, 1862 - A schoolgirl's patriotic amusement in Bolivar

Lilly Hill and myself took a ride this morning. This evening was spent very pleasantly indeed. Mrs. Polk, Misses McNeal, Bills, and Hill came over about 3 o'clock and sat until about six. We sung all our new songs; besides we sung health to all the States and Generals in the Confederacy. Some of the verses were composed by officers in General Bragg's Army and some by Mrs. Polk, Kate and myself. Mrs. Polk's verse was:

"Here's a health to General Pillow

For he's forced to wear the willow."[1]

Kate's was:

"Here's a health to Jeff Davis

For he'll do his best to save us."

and mine,

"Here's a health to General Lee

For he fights for liberty."

Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.




11, 1863 - Athens occupied by Federals

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from Itinerary of the Twenty-third Army Corps, August 1-September 30, 1863.

* * * *

September 11.-Col. Byrd occupied Athens, Tenn.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. II, p. 578.




11, 1863 - "Memphis Gangrene Hospital."

The popular idea of a hospital, especially a military hospital, is that of a sort of golgotha, a place of horrid sights, sounds and fetor. In common with others, our reporter admits that he had participated in this idea, so far at least as to look shudderingly upon a hospital as he passed, and to hurry forward with accelerated pace. It was not until recently that so unworthy an idea was removed from his mind, and that was done by visiting them and inspecting for himself their appearance and management. He selected the Gangrene Hospital under the charge of Dr. Cleveland, for his first essay, rightly judging that the worst aspects of a hospital would be visible in the treatment of a disease always accompanied with horrid symptoms and so frequently fatal. The building occupied for gangrene and erysipelas is the Baptist Church on Second street. It is admirably adapted for a hospital, especially one where much fresh air is needed. The body of the church forms the hospital wards embracing fifty beds arranged in four rows. The pulpit, with a little shelving, makes a good pharmacy, the retiring rooms of the parson form private offices for the surgeon in charge and for his cadets and assistants and the cottage in the rear, formerly the domicile of the sexton answers admirably for dining room, etc. One report met with the greatest courtesy, both from Dr. Cleveland, who is Surgeon in charge and Dr. Weeks, who had just been ordered to the post of Medical Director of the Department of Arkansas. The modesty of Dr. Cleveland was with difficulty overcome in getting his permission even to mention his name in this article. The Gangrene Hospital was opened July 39th, by Dr. Cleveland and order being dated the 19th of the previous month. The greatest number of patients in the wards at a single time has been twenty-five; at present there are eighteen, mostly convalescing and doing well. The cleanliness of the rooms, of the outhouses and appurtenances, was a matter of surprise until our reporter learned that there was a man kept all the time whitewashing where the antiseptic could be laid on with a brush, there it abounds, and no hall or corner from roof to foundations stone is left to harbor miasmatic exhalations. The beds are models of neatness, and when the difficulty of keeping them so under the frequent dressings necessary in gangrenous cases is considered, it is really wonderful to behold. If the hotel and boarding house-keepers could take lessons in this respect from Dr. Cleveland, the comfort of their guests would be greatly enhanced. A great fact in the science of healing has been developed in this hospital, viz.,: that bromine is a specific in the treatment of gangrene. The experiments which led to this discovery, we believe, by Dr. Hammond, Surgeon General of the United Sates, and followed up by Prof. Brainard, of Chicago. But these gentlemen confined its application to the bites of poisonous serpents, in which it was found almost a specific. Dr. Goldsmith, of Louisville, and Dr. Weeks, to whom we have already alluded in this article, extended its use to the poisonous matter of gangrene, and the following is the result: Of 29 cases treated without bromide, 9 died, all of gangrene. Of 146 cases treated with bromine, 12 have died, only for of them of gangrene. These results will startle the medical world, and if the experiment can be sustained, will prove bromine to be as great a specific in this disease as quinine is in intermittents [sic].

The records of this hospital, made up daily monthly, are masterpieces of system and detail. Every indication is recorded and the results so thoroughly calculated as to afford permanent records for the medical profession of the highest value. Of the notes taken by our reporter, we may have occasion to make further use.

Memphis Bulletin, September 11, 1863.




11, 1863 - Memphis Board of School Visitors

According to notice the Board met in the Mayor's office, and, in the absence of Mr. Clark, Mr. Wetherell was appointed secretary, pro tem Mr. Lemon reported on school houses. Dr. Scott, principal of senior male school, made an application for an addition to text books on latin [sic] and mathematics, which was received and filed. Mr. Loague read a communication, relative to a conversation on public schools, wherein Mr. Clark had assumed the authority of making a compromise in the matter of the senior schools, which Mr. Clark characterized as a "lie." Dr. Scott reiterated "most emphatically" his former statement, and the Board sustained the Doctor by ordering the communication to be spread upon the minutes. Mr. Lemon moved the adoption of the rules which governed the city schools in 1858-9. After being read by the Secretary the rules were adopted, and five hundred copies ordered to be printed for general circulation. Mr. Lemon handed in a paper charging Rev. R. Hines with discourteous conduct toward the Board, insulting when applying for tickets and threatening a teacher with his vengeance dire, when she applied of a school [position] for next year, should she not obey his unjust commands. [sic] Referred to a committee for investigation. Mr. Signaigo laid before the Board the complaints of several teachers who had not received the bonds with which the city paid them, although Mr. L. S. Clark, the Secretary of the Board, had received them from the City Controller. It would appear that some of the teachers made many visits to Mr. Clark, but could not succeed in getting either money or bond; in one case a due bill of Mr. Clark's was obtained which has not yet been honored by payment. If such complainants are well founded – and we are assured they are – that such conduct is highly reprehensible. We presume that school teachers are not endowed with a superabundance of this world's goods, and all they earn is necessary, for present use, so that any persons withholding their salaries, after being honorably served, is deficient in the principle of "Do unto others as you would have other do unto you."

Memphis Bulletin, September 11, 1863.




11, 1864 - General Paine's anti-guerrilla campaign in Lincoln county; an excerpt from the letter of Captain Henry Newton Comey, 2nd Massachusetts Infantry

Tullahoma, Tenn.

June 11, 1864

Dear Sister,

Yours of the 6th containing ten dollars was received last Wednesday. It was delayed on the way somewhat, however it was thankfully received….

There's not much of interest transpiring at present. General Paine returned this week from his foray into Lincoln County, having killed nineteen guerrillas and bushwhackers and among them two leaders. General Paine burned several still houses (houses where whiskey is made) and several other houses, all told the people of Lincoln County that if the bushwhackers and guerrillas who were robbing and molesting the rail road were not stopped within fifteen days he would burn the whole country. His measures are having quite a salutary effect on the citizens of Lincoln and the adjoining counties. The have recently held a meeting in which all guerrillas are denounced and it was decided that guerrillas henceforth should not be allowed in the counties. The guerrilla leaders retaliated with a message in which they threatened General Paine. They said if General Paine should kill certain men in the county that they kill and burn all the union men.

*  *  *  *


Comey Correspondence, pp. 171-172.[2]


[1] The meaning of the phrase "wearing the willow" is not known. In the nineteenth century it may have meant wearing a willow hat, that is, a hat made of willow branches. How this may have been meant to apply to Pillow is not understood. Should readers have an answer do not hesitate to let me know.

[2] Comey, Lyman Richard, ed., A Legacy of Valor: The Memoirs and Letters of Captain Henry Newton Comey, 2nd Massachusetts Infantry, (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2004, [Hereinafter cited as Comey Correspondence.]

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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